The Problem Solving and Communication Activity Series Look at Cases

Look at Cases

Cases is an unfamiliar strategy for many students, but it's an important way to analyze problems. Looking at cases can help break a tough problem into manageable parts, or help confirm if a solution is general enough to work in every case.

Because it's an unfamiliar strategy, we've offered a list of cases that mathematical objects often come in, and offered activities to help students explore those different cases.

Activities to Learn this Strategy

Facilitation Questions

  • What are the objects or situations in this problem?
  • What kinds of cases do they come in?

Recommended Library Problems

The Strategy Examples documents linked from these problems contain examples of what students could do with the activities. You need a Class Membership or higher to access Library problems.


Money Matters
The Van Ride

Math Fundamentals

How Old is Mia?
Change You Can't Count On


Two Toss
Unknown Numbers


Are You Positive?
A Slippery Slope


Arranging Rectangles
Making the Biggest Triangle

Learn more about the different membership options.

© 2018 The Math Forum at NCTM. All Rights Reserved.